Posts tagged ‘religion’

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tibetan New Year, and The Role of the Exiles

I’ve known many of you for a long time and now we’re all showing signs of age. I was 24 years old when our exile began and I’m nearly 79 now. Meanwhile the spirit of our people in Tibet is still strong; they have a strength that has been passed down generation to generation. Wherever we are, we shouldn’t forget that we are Tibetans. Those of us in exile number about 150,000, but what is most important is that the spirit of those in Tibet remains alive, they are the bosses. And it’s because of the hope they have placed in us that we have to keep our cause alive.

The Dalai Lama, addressing Tibetans in Los Angeles on Thursday. He is scheduled to celebrate Tibetan New Year on March 2, with the Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota.

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Related

» Zhu Weiqun: keep calm, Feb 23, 2013

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Zhu Weiqun: Keep calm in Tibet and Xinjiang and carry on

Main link:   » Why the West keeps meddling with Tibet and Xinjiang and finding fault with China / 西方为何在涉藏涉疆问题上与中国过不去

The article was officially first published by “China Tibet Online” (中国西藏网), and republished by Xinhua online, by People’s Daily‘s CCP webpages, by Guangming Daily online (China’s offical dangwai publication), and by Phoenix (Fenghuang, Hong Kong).

The author is Zhu Weiqun (朱维群), chairman of the ethnic and religious affairs committee of the CPPC. His article suggests that the “splittist” concepts of Tibetan independence and East Turkestan islamic state hadn’t emerged on Chinese soil, but had entered China from abroad, in the wake of imperialism’s aggressions against China. Chinese-speaking readers are provided with details about British policies on Tibet from 1888 to 1914, i. e. aggressions during which false ideas of suzerainty and a Tibetan right to independence were entered into the heads of a minority upper class. In competition with Tsarist Russia, Britain had also tried to get the territories south of the Tianshan Mountains into its sphere of control, writes Zhu.

After World War 2, it had been America which encouraged Tibetan independence and supplied Tibetan forces with arms, and to this day, America was the main financer of the “Dalai clique”, constantly creating cracks and driving wedges on Chinese territory. In Xinjiang, too, it had been upper-class minorities who had been influenced in a “counter-CCP” way (not “counter-revolutionary”, interestingly), including a war by Ospan Batyr against the “People’s Liberation Army”.  After the 9-11 attacks (2001), America had entered Central Asia under the name of counter-terrorism, and American support for “splittist forces” in Xinjiang had moved from behind the curtain to the fore. A John-Hopkins University project started in 2003 – apparently described by project members themselves here – denied that Xinjiang had “since ancient times been an inseparable part of China”, “violently attacked the benefits that China’s government had brought to all nationalities in Xinjiang”, and even though America understood the links between East Turkestan and al-Kaida, Taliban and the threats they constituted for America, America also still saw forces in them that could be used to put pressure on China.

After a description of the World Uyghur Congress and Rebiya Kadeer as Western (and Japanese) tools, Zhu draws a – preliminary – conclusion: China doesn’t harm the West, but the West shamelessly harms China.

The strange thing is, the perpetrators can make eloquent assertions without any feelings of shame. This  can only be explained with some peoples’ view that this kind of perpetration is some kind of political tradition in some countries, a divine right earned from their Christian faith, without a need to care about the interests or feelings of the aggrieved party. The only difference between history and reality is that in history, the West applied armed force right away. These days, [the West] rather relies on its discourse hegemony, dressing its selfish interests up as “universal values”.

奇怪的是,加害者可以如此振振有词,如此毫无羞耻感。这只能解释为,在一些人看来,这种加害是某些国家一种政治传统,是由于基督教信仰而获得的神授特权,根本没有必要顾及受害方的利益和感受。历史与现实的不同之处仅仅在于,西方在历史上更多是直截了当使用武力,而现在则首先依靠其在国际上的话语霸权,将他们的私利装扮成“普世价值”。

[The last sentence is emphasized by Zhu or by the editor.]

In a short account of the U.S.-Chinese recent history of relations, Zhu then writes that during the 1970s, America significantly reduced its support for the “Dalai clique”, so as to win China over against the USSR. The “Dalai clique” had basically turned into pariahs. The “Dalai” was well aware that America wasn’t there to help Tibet, but for the tactical necessities of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, Zhu says, allegedly claiming the Dalai Lama himself.

Likewise, Zhu argues, the March-5 riots in Lhasa in March 1989, and then the “June-4 incident” were a time when the U.S. felt strongly that the “Dalai” was of great value in containing socialist China.

So, in October 1989, as a measure to punish China, the laurel of the Nobel Peace Prize fell on the Dalai’s head, and in 1991, U.S. president Bush senior met with the Dalai, setting the bad precedent of Western heads of state meeting the Dalai. Strongly encouraged, the “Dalai” suggested at the time that Tibet should become an independent state within three years, and made remarks about a collapsing China, according to Zhu.

The article then moves into the present tense, i. e. into the new century: the Beijing Olympics 2008, the 3-14 Lhasa riots, and violent interceptions of the Olympic torch relays.

At the same time, Western leaders collectively threatened to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, humiliated China, put pressure on the Chinese government to make concessions to the Dalai clique. Only because the situation in Tibet quickly returned to normal, and because Chinese people and overseas Chinese people all over the world raised their voices in support of the Chinese government, strongly opposing the Dalai’s and CNN’s and other Western media incidents to humiliate China, the West no longer dared to move things around.

与此同时,西方领导人以集体抵制北京奥运会开幕式威胁、羞辱中国,压中国政府对达赖集团作出政治上的让步。只是由于西藏局面迅速恢复正常,全中国人民和全球华侨华人群起发声支持中国政府,强烈反对达赖集团和CNN等西方媒体辱华事件,西方才没敢把事情做绝。

It’s a long list of Chinese humiliations, Western aggression, Western pragmatism, Western fears (of China changing the global rules) etc., and, of course, of Chinese victories, with the corresponding ups and downs for the “Dalai clique”. Zhu’s article continues with – no specific – accusation that Western countries had seen contradictions within their societies which they suppressed, not least because of economic crisis, and contrasts this with the way the 3-14 Tibet riots (2008) or 7-5 Urumqi incident (2009) were portrayed by Western media (unfavorably for the Chinese government). Tibetan self-immolations, too, get a mention by Zhu.

The Western refusal to address Tibetan pre-CCP history as a history of exploitation and serfdom (27 manors and more than 6000 farmer-slaves owned by the “Dalais”), and a constant “brainwash” of the Western public (Zhu himself puts the brainwash into quotation marks), made it impossible for common Westerners to “correctly understand the justified nature and the necessity of the Chinese government’s struggle against the Dalai clique” (当然也就不能正确了解中国政府对达赖集团斗争的正义性和必要性).

Sooner or later, however, America would understand that double standards like these impaired their own national interests, such as links between their Xinjiang allies and al-Kaida, or extremist elements within the “Arab Spring”.

Zhu also tries to explain European inabilities to “understand China” with European history and the trend to nation-states there during the past one or two centuries. Too much national self-determination, however, would bring instability to Europe, too, he writes, citing Bosnia and the partitions of India (but not that of Czechoslovakia or, possibly, the United Kingdom and Scotland, apparently). In China, this way of ruling was simply not feasible. In short, Zhu describes economic, political, cultural and blood relationships as too intricate to apply self-determination in China. It is here where his article may become clearly more complex than this traanslation – or that’s how I see it -, but he definitely wouldn’t admit that the CCP has kept creating the situation where “self-determination can’t work”.

In many ways, the article is a comprehensive rehash of the propaganda that dominated the Chinese press and “public opinion” in 2008 and after. Nazi Germany, too, is invoked as a co-author of an unrealistic Western picture of Tibet:

Even Nazi Germany tried to find the secret power here [in Tibet] to rule the world, and a Nazi element named Heinrich Harrer was commissioned to go to Tibet and to establish relations with the upper class there. From 1946, this man was the 14th Dalai’s political adviser and English teacher, and he only fled Tibet in 1951. In his book “Seven Years in Tibet” and in related interviews, he describes feudalistic and farmer-slave-system Tibet as “the last piece of pure earth on the globe” – “you can find there, on the roof of the world, what we have lost in the West.” The 1997 Hollywood adaptation of the book not only concealed the author’s Nazi identity, but also, by fabrications, suggested that Tibet wasn’t a historic part of China, distorting peaceful liberation into a “Chinese invasion of Tibet”, thus deliberately misleading the Western public.

甚至纳粹德国也试图从这里找到可以统 治世界的“神秘力量”,一个叫海因里希·哈勒的纳粹分子受命前往西藏与上层建立联系,此人从1946年起给十四世达赖充当政治顾问和英文教师,直到 1951年才逃离西藏。在其《西藏七年》一书和相关采访中,把封建农奴制统治下的西藏描述为“地球上的最后一片净土”、“我们西方人在现实生活中遗失的东 西在这个世界屋脊的城市里都可以找到”。1997年好莱坞把这本书改编为电影,不仅掩盖了作者的纳粹身份,而且捏造情节否认西藏历史上就是中国一部分,把 和平解放歪曲为“中国入侵西藏”,蓄意误导西方公众。

In short: ugly things were made looking beautiful, and things got farcial enough to make a Spanish judge indict Chinese leaders to curry favor with the public (乃至发生西班牙法官借起诉中国领导人讨好“民意”的丑剧), writes Zhu. But with China’s growing global role, those Western countries couldn’t carry on like that, unless they wanted to harm themselves.

While it was important to inform the Western public about Tibet and Xinjiang, the Western elites wouldn’t settle with anything less than a Chinese acknowledgement that the two territories did not belong to China, writes Zhu. Therefore, illusions needed to be abandoned, and Chinese control be safeguarded:

Only when the West sees the inevitability of a strong China, and that separating Tibet and Xinjiang from China is just a “beautiful dream”, that it is in the Western interest to develop and safeguard relations with China rather than the contrary, it may lead the West to change its thinking.

只有使西方认识到中国的强大是不可避免的,使西藏、新疆脱离中国只是一场“美丽的”梦,而西方的利益在于发展、保护同中国关系而不是相反,才可能促使西方转换一下思路。

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Related

» China angry, U.S. shouldn’t worry, Washington Post blogs, Feb 21, 2014

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Radio Taiwan International Shortwave Issues: maybe not as China-Influenced as first reported

The high-level official meeting in Nanjing is in the international headlines, and once that happens, there’s probably nothing to add to what you couldn’t find elsehwere, too.

But a comment has reminded me that it’s time to keep track again of something else – Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) shortwave broadcasts. Sound of Hope (SoH), a Falun-Gong-affiliated broadcaster who rented airtime from RTI had said in summer 2013 that they had been asked to cut their airtime by half after the return of the KMT to power in the 2008 elections, and other allegations – as quoted by Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Chiang Kai-shek statement of resistance, apparently through a CBS microphone

Chiang Kai-shek’s statement of resistance on July 17, 1937, apparently speaking through a CBS microphone – click picture for info

This is what I wrote on June 8 2013. And this is a collection of links posted by Kim Elliott on July 12 2013. His links seem to suggest that shortwave airtime would hardly, if at all, be reduced once the relocations from Huwei and Tainan are completed.

A statement by Taiwan’s de-facto embassy to the U.S. published in a statement in Chinese on July 2 2013 (i. e. more than half a year ago and shortly after the Sound of Hope accusations), saying that plans for relocation had been  made as early as in 1997. The Executive Yuan had, at the time, told the Central Broadcasting System (CBS) to finalize the planning by 2004. The Taiwan embassy statement also reflected domestic Taiwanese politics in saying that DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), who herself represented a Tainan constituency, had on many occasions pushed for early removal of the towers to facilitate the city’s development.

Sound of Hope had been given assurances that the relocations would not affect the number of hours it can broadcast through RTI facilities and the services it received. It was regrettable that Sound of Hope had run reports without verification.

The official Taiwanese remarks seem to have gone mostly unnoticed or ignored. It’s obviously reasonable to follow stories over some time anyway, but especially when as contested, shit-stormed and “psy-oped” as they frequently are in cross-strait relations. The official Taiwanese reaction on the Sound of Hope and RFA allegations, in turn, was called into question by the Epoch Times, apparently Falun-Gong-affiliated as is Sound of Hope. This recent comment was very helpful in bringing me back to this story.

The proof of the pudding is the eating, of course. If any readers among you have information about how much airtime Sound of Hope currently gets from RTI, or if there have been changes in the airtime contract, or any other information on this matter, please let me know, by comment or e-mail.

Maybe even American and European RTI listeners will get the chance to listen to shortwave broadcasts directly from Taiwan again, sooner or later.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, January 2014

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1. Voice of Tibet (a PBS shortwave station from or near Tibet)

If you still doubt that Tibet is a happy land of liberated serfs, PBS Tibet‘s English program “Holy Tibet” is made for you. Learn about the CCP’s warm care for the roof of the world, and how Han-Chinese party groups and neighborhood committees keep  those kids at the Tibetan leaders school in Beijing happy (starting at 3’40” here).

Apparently, there’s not quite as much care for listeners of the station who write reception reports and hope to get a QSL card as a confirmation. Maybe they remember that sending QSLs from Tibet can get radio people into big trouble. (At least as likely though, letters from abroad may not even get to the station.)

But the English-language broadcasts are, of course, directed to the outside world, as a China Tibet Website (中国西藏网) confirmed in 2010. The following are translation excerpts from the article:

Every day, with the sound of the bell in the wee hours, the strong radiowaves of Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station’s foreign program “Voice of Tibet”, and with satellite signals, too, in future, carry the sound of Tibet to the whole world. Millions of listeners all around the world can learn about the changes in Tibet in realtime, understand the broad and profound Tibetan culture, listen to melodies from the “roof of the world”, get to know Tibet and get nearer to Tibet.

伴随着每一天凌晨的钟声,西藏人民广播电台的对外广播《中国西藏之声》用强劲的电波将来自西藏的声音通过卫星传递到全球。遍布世界各地的百万听 众,可以通过这档节目及时了解西藏正在发生的变化,感悟博大精深的藏族文化、聆听来自“世界屋脊”的旋律,认识西藏并走近西藏。

On April 26 (2010), this reporter visited Tibet People’s Broadcasting Station deputy director Da Qiong. He told him his own story, and the story of broadcasting.

4月26日,记者走访了西藏人民广播电台副台长达穷,给他讲述了自己和广播的故事。

Deputy director Da Qiong told this reporter that since the English-language broadcasts had been started in May 2002*), the programs had received the attention and and appreciation. Every year, hundreds of letters come in from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, America, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and other foreign listeners, as well as from Tibetan compatriots living in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and other foreign countries. Da Qiong says: “There are listeners in 47 countries and territories on five continents. Actually, the gap between our ideals and the program’s contents is still rather wide, and it inspires us to see how many people at home and abroad pay attention to the program. As for the young group of the “Holy Tibet” program team, every postcard and photo [that comes in] spells cordial friendship and sincere encouragement.

达穷副台长告诉记者,自2002年5月开办英语对外广播节目以来,节目受到了欧美英语国家听众的广泛关注和欢迎,每年都会收到来自英国、德国、瑞士、美国、加拿大、澳大利亚、南非、日本等国外听众,以及旅居尼泊尔、印度、不丹等国外藏胞的来信数百封。达穷说:“与电台保持通信联系的国外听众遍布五大洲47个国家和地区。其实目前栏目的内容与我们理想中的差距还很大,看到这么多的国内外人士关注栏目,使我们备受鼓舞。对于《圣地西藏》节目组的这些年轻人来说,每一张明信片和照片都意味着一份诚挚的友谊和诚恳的鼓励。”

[Dutch listener M.] is a shortwave aficionado who decided, after listening to “Holy Tibet”, to travel to Tibet. In July 2009, he and his friend came to Lhasa and also visited the “Holy Tibet” program team. Coming to the newsroom, M. was very excited, saying “I have heard broadcasts from many places. When travelling in Indonesia last year, I came across your program on the radio dial and have listened ever since. I’m very happy to meet the people behind this familiar voice today. Your program includes news, cultural and muscial programs, and it’s a really good structure. Through them, I can understand the real Tibet. Tibetan music is so beautiful. It’s a trasured sound [or the sound of nature]. Thank you for your hard work.”

荷兰听众戴夫德-马丁是一位短波收听爱好者,经过收听《Holy Tibet》后决定到西藏旅游,2009年7月他和他的朋友来到拉萨并专程拜访了《Holy Tibet》节目组。来到编辑部马丁先生激动不已,他说:“我收听很多地方的广播,去年在印尼旅行时意外搜索到你们的节目,从此一直在收听。今天能见到我熟悉的声音背后的人十分高兴。你们的节目囊括了新闻、文化和音乐节目,结构布局很好。通过它我们能够了解真实的西藏,西藏的音乐太美了,真是天籁之音。谢谢你们的辛勤劳动。”

[Another listener, from Canada, wrote in a letter]: “This is a window widely opened by ancient Tibet to the world. Through this window, listeners around the world can find out about real Tibet, about fast-developing Tibet.”

另一位来自加拿大埃尔波特的听众尼格尔-潘布雷特在来信中说:这是古老的西藏向世界敞开的一扇窗口,遍布世界各地的听众通过这扇窗口了解真实的西藏,快速发展中的西藏。

The deputy director relates s0me domestic merits of the station, too: a Tibetan-language hotline where the common people can ask for help with practical problems, such as electricity blackouts in remote villages. After such a problem had been aired and solved, excited villagers took home-produced fresh milk and yoghourt to the radio station and expressed their thanks (兴奋的村民提着自己制做的鲜牛奶和酸奶找到了电台表示感谢). The deputy director acknowledges that there is competition among different media in “more developed” places, but suggests that his station can still leave a mark even among an international audience.

“Witnessing Tibet [with your own eyes]“, “Eyes on Tibet” [is/are] news feature program[s]. We introduce Tibetan human rights, the heritage of traditional culture and its development, freedom of religious belief, demographics, the ecology and environment, etc.. We determine our topics directly from these reports. We compare with old Tibet, we show how the living conditions of all nationalities and masses of new Tibet prosper under the minority policies, religion policies, and policies of enriching the people, and with the support from old and younger brothers from all provinces and cities of the nation, are improving, and how culture, hygiene, education and other public infrastructure are, day by day, create historical facts. We make interviews on the ground. Through ordinary people from all walks of life in Tibet, through description of peasants’ and herders’ own experience, we report the real Tibet. Indisputible facts show Tibet’s new development, new changes, and new life.

《目击西藏》,《Eyes on the Tibet》:新闻专题节目。对外介绍西藏的人权、传统文化的继承和发展、宗教信仰自由、人口数量的变化、生态环境等。直接针对这些报道确定选题。与旧西藏进行对比,展现新西藏各族群众在党的民族政策、宗教政策、富民政策指引下,在全国兄弟省市的大力支援下,生活条件逐年改善,文化、卫生、教育等公共设施日益健全的历史事实。全部采用现场采访,通过西藏社会各界普通百姓,农牧民亲身经历的讲述报道真实的西藏,用不争的事实展示西藏的新发展、新变化、新生活。

God knows if the Dutch and Canadian listeners quoted in the article exist for real – but if you write to the “Voice of Tibet” for a QSL card, you may want to learn from these foreign models’ example.

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*) Update (20140201): In an earlier article, apparently (originally) published by a China Tibet News Center (中国西藏信息中心) in November 2009,  it is suggested that Tibet PBS started foreign broadcasts in 1964, but with what comes across as a description of limited success. The 2002 broadcasts therefore underwent a rebranding and/or expansion, rather than being the absolute beginning of foreign broadcasts by Tibet PBS.

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2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:

AFS – South Africa; ARG – Argentina; CHN – China; CUB – Cuba; D – Germany; EQA – Ecuador; IND – India; INS – Indonesia; KRE – North Korea; RRW – Rwanda; TIB – Tibet, TUR – Turkey; USA – USA.

Languages (“L.”):

C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; R – Russian; S – Spanish.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
2
19:00 5 5 4
 3985 Radio
Prague
D G Jan
7
20:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG C Jan
10
04:00 3 3 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG C Jan
15
04:00 4 4 3
11755 AWR
Meyerton
AFS F Jan
16
20:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG F Jan
17
03:48 4 4 4
15700 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
19
06:00 4 5 3
17800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
19
06:20 4 5 4
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
20
04:00 4 4 3
15235 Channel
Africa
AFS E Jan
20
17:00 5 5 5
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
20
18:51 5 5 4
 6170 Vo Korea KRE G Jan
20
19:00 5 4 4
 6155 CRI
Beijing
CHN R Jan
20
20:00 4 3 4
 9800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
20
21:01 4 5 3
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
21
16:25 4 3 3
 7205 Vo
Turkey
TUR G Jan
21
18:30 4 3 3
 7550 AIR
Delhi
IND E Jan
21
19:00 5 5 5
 9800 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW ? Jan
22
03:51
7425 Deutsche
Welle
Kigali
RRW E Jan
22
04:01 4 5 4
 9525 RRI
Jakarta1)
INS G Jan
22
19:00 4 5 4
 7240 PBS
Tibet2)
TIB C Jan
24
01:00 4 4 4
 7240 PBS
Tibet
TIB C Jan
24
02:00 4 4 3
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Jan
24
02:10 0 0 0
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG F Jan
24
03:40 3 4 3
 7365 Radio
Martí
USA S Jan
24
02:15 4 5 4
 6000 Radio
Habana
Cuba3)
CUB E Jan
24
03:00 3 2 2
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
24
03:03 4 3 3
 6050 HCJB
Quito
EQA S/E Jan
24
03:13 4 4 4
 6165 Radio
Habana
Cuba
CUB E Jan
26
05:00 4 4 4
9445 AIR
Delhi4)
IND E Jan
27
21:15 4 5 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
28
16:00 4 4 4
11710 RAE
Buenos
Aires
ARG E Jan
29
02:00 5 5 4
 6155 Channel
Africa
AFS E Jan
29
03:00 3 2 2
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
30
16:00 4 4 4
 4905 PBS
Tibet
TIB E Jan
31
16:40 3 4 3
 5000 WWV USA E Jan
31
06:02 3 3 3

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Footnotes

1) in English from 18:00 – 18:59 UTC
2) more fading by 01:30 UTC: 44434
3) interference by Radio Liberty, apparently from 5995 kHz
4) blackouts on 7550 and 11670 kHz from 21:00 – 2115 UTC, hence 9445 kHz (fine)

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Related

» Log Dec 2013
» Log Nov (2) 2013
» Log Nov (1) 2013

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Shinzo Abe’s visit to the Yasakuni Shrine

Listening to Radio Taiwan International and KBS Seoul‘s foreign service, the unease about Shinzo Abe‘s visit to the Yasakuni Shrine is palpable. I don’t know how Japanese people feel about their prime minister’s visit, or about utterances by Japanese politicians who trivialize their country’s past warcrimes. My guess is that there are many different feelings among the Japanese – but that a majority elects politicians with these kinds of attitudes anyway.

I’m not familiar with the Yasakuni Shrine. There may be reasons to visit ancestors, no matter their past. But when a politician tries to play crimes down, or if he denies them, there is something wrong with him.

If politicians from my country were careless or disrespectful about the sufferings of victims abroad, I wouldn’t believe for a moment that such politicians could care any more about injustices that hit people at home. I wouldn’t believe that he might be able to respect my dignity, or the dignity of his and my compatriots. A politician with a flawed sense of justice wouldn’t get my vote.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Chinese Press and Blog Review: funerals and self-immolations

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1. Reforming Cadres’ and Party Members’ Funerals

One of the most-read domestic news in China’s online media on Friday appears to be a state-council opinion on reform of cadres‘ and party members‘ funerals. Cremation should be the regular way, thriftily and in an ecological way, the opinion is quoted. The opinion encourages organ donations, regulated land use (and no waste of land) for graveyards, no “superstitious” or “feudal” rites (no fengshui either), etc.. However, party members who belong to national minorities should be buried with respect to customs and in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations, according to reports.

-

2. Self-Immolation in Gansu Province

A Tibetan monk reportedly killed himself by self-immolation in Amchok town, Sangchu County, within the “autonomous” Tibetan prefecture of Gannan, in Gansu Province, on Thursday. His name is said to be Tsuiltrim Gyatso, a man in his early fourties. According to Phayul, he is the 125th Tibetan since 2009 to set himself on fire to protest the Chinese government.

Tsering Woeser quotes from what is said to be Tsuiltrim Gyatso’s suicide note:

Dear brothers, did you hear? Did you see? To whom can the distress of six million Tibetans be told? Black Han Chinese brutal prison, taking our golden and silver treasures, leaving the ordinary people in poverty, thinking of it, it brings still more tears to my eyes.
亲爱的兄弟,你听到了吗?你看见了吗?六百万藏人的苦难向谁诉说?黑汉人暴虐的监狱,夺走了我们黄金白银般的宝库,使百姓们处于苦难中,想起这,不禁流泪不止。

I will burn my precious body, for the venerable Dalai Lama to return to the native land, for the Panchen Lama to be released, for the happiness and benefit of six million Tibetans, I will offer my body to the fire.
将我宝贵的身体燃烧,为了尊者达赖喇嘛返回故土,为了班禅喇嘛获得释放,为了六百万藏人的福祉,我将身体献供于烈火。以此祈愿消除三界众生的苦难,走上菩提之路。

Three treasures, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha: please bless and protect those who are helpless, compatriots from the snowland, be united [unreadable] Snowland fighter Tsuiltrim Gyatso.
佛、法、僧三宝啊,请护佑无助的人们,雪域同胞们,要团结xxxxx (此处字迹不清 )……
———雪域斗士次成嘉措

According to Tsering Woeser’s blog, Tsuiltrim Gyatso’s remains was taken to his monastery by fellow monks, and more than 400 monks held prayers for him, but the current situation wasn’t known, writes Woeser.

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Related

» Inevitable Humiliations, Sept 17, 2011

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Song Luzheng on Democracy: “Idle Masses indulging in a Life of Pleasure and Comfort”

Song Luzheng (宋鲁郑) is a journalist and (semi-)official living in France. The following are excerpts from an article published by Guanchazhe, a Shanghai-based website, on Thursday, and republished by the nationalist Huanqiu Shibao (online), also on Thursday. The article also appears on his regular blog.

Quotes made by Song Luzheng within the excerpts and translations underneath are my translations from Chinese to English. The wordings of the actual English-language originals (including book titles) by Niall Ferguson and Thomas Friedman may be different.

Main Link: The Tragedy of the Egyptian Raids confirm, once again, the Predicament of Democracy (埃及清场悲剧再次验证民主困境)

The bloody way in which the Egyptian military cracked down on the Morsi supporters has shocked the world. One after another, European countries condemned the “big terrorist massacre”, but Kerry, the secretary of state in charge of America’s diplomacy, of the world’s most developed democracy, with a surprising smile on his face on a press conference, didn’t condemn the military massacre in the least, and only uttered  that this was “deplorable”, that “violence was no solution and only brought about more instability and economic disaster” (but who used violence? The protesters?). Also, the only “sanction” the Obama administration imposes is “the military exercises with Egypt may be cancelled”. This is completely different from condemning the situation in Syria and taking action. Apparently, public intellectuals under American influence, abroad and at home, are in a hurry to stand on the side of the military which massacres peaceful Egyptian citizens.

埃及军方如此残酷的血腥镇压穆尔西的支持者, 举世震惊。欧洲各国纷纷表态谴责这起“恐怖大屠杀”,而世界上最发达的民主国家美国,其主管外交的国务卿克里竟然笑容满面地出席记者会,对埃及军方主导的 大屠杀毫无谴责,仅仅说了一句“悲惨的”,并不痛不痒地说“暴力不是解决方案,通向暴力的道路只能带来更大的不稳定、经济灾难”(但谁在使用暴力?抗议者 吗?)。与此同时,奥巴马政府的官员提出的唯一“制裁”措施竟然是:“可能取消与埃及的军事演习”。这和美国谴责叙利亚的态度和采取的行动完全不同。看 来,受美国影响,海内外的不少公知们很快也要站在屠杀埃及平民的军方一边了。

Most of today’s developed countries, with the exception of Britain, went through times of destruction, writes Song, and adds:

In fact, China went through a similar experience, only at a higher cost. This was the Republic of China, founded in 1912. Simply-put, the Republic of China didn’t bring China independence, nor did it bring China unity, let alone an era of strength, prosperity and dignity. In its short 37 years, the economy went into bancruptcy, there was warlordism, large-scale civil war, invasions by foreign enemies, territorial disintegration, corruption from the top to the bottom etc., and until it [the ROC] withdraw from the stage of history, China had almost reached the status of a savage nation. Life expectancy was at 35 years, illiteracy up to 80 percent. The only time in several thousands of years that China fell behind India was at that time. Not even the Cultural Revolution managed to do that. China at the end of the Qing dynasty faced three challenges: extreme poverty and weakness and encirclement by big powers, national disintegration, and military split by warlordism, and the Republic of China not only failed to provide solutions, but worsened even further. If one says that the Qing dynasty was a big collapsing building, the Republic of China not only failed to work on the Qing dynasty’s foundations, but even lost that foundation. It was at that time that Outer Mongolia was lost without a war, as the first territory in China’s history.

其实中国自己也曾有过类似的经历,只是代价更为不菲。这就是 1912年建立的中华民国。简言之中华民国是一个既没有带给中国独立、也没有带来统一,更没有带来富强与尊严的时代。在其短短的三十七年间,经济陷入破 产,军阀混战,大规模的内战,外敌入侵,国土分裂,从上到下的完全腐败,等到它退出历史舞台的时候,中国已几乎到了“蛮荒亡国”的地步:人均寿命不足35 岁,文盲高达80%。中国几千年唯一一次落后于印度就在此时,甚至文革都未能做到一点。清末中国面临的三大挑战:极端的贫困和积弱不振、列强环伺的生存危 机、国家的分裂和军队的军阀化,中华民国不但一个都没有解决,反而更加恶化。如果说清朝是倒塌的大厦,中华民国则不但连清理地基的工作都未能做到,而且把 地基都丢掉了。外蒙古也就是这个时期,成为中国历史上首个不是因为战败而丧失的领土。

Although a high price for democratic transition was a historical law [anyway], there were still more special factors at work in Egypt, according to Song: it was particularly poor, it was under the impact of the global economic crisis and of revolution at home, an unemployment rate of 31 percent (only nine percent before the revolution), and adding to that, illiteracy was at 27 percent, with female illiteracy at 69 percent.  A well-performing democracy needed an economic base and universal education. Lacking secularism in the Islamic world is also cited as a factor.

Also, some Muslim societies have long lacked a spirit of compromise and tolerance. This national character displays itself in a firm position and no concessions. This led to a situation where, when a ruler [Muarak] made concessions, prepared to move toward democracy, the country missed out on this top-down transition model which would have come at rather low costs, and even after a democratic success, and used extreme methods to solve conflicts. This happened both in Tunisia and in Egypt. When Muarak announced that he wouldn’t stay in office for another term and that his sons wouldn’t participate in elections, and that after his current term, there would be comprehensive, free and fair elections, the masses rejected this. As a result, power was transferred to the military, thus extending the transition period.  And after one year of rule by Morsi, the first president elected by the people was pushed off the stage by another street revolution, causing nation-wide confrontation and resulting in an unprecedented bloody tragedy. This kind of lack of compromise has already strangled Egypt’s democracy in its cradle. History shows again and again that what is born in a pool of blood is only violent, not democratic.

再者,有些穆斯林社会长期缺乏妥协和宽容精神,这种国民性在革命时可以表现 为立场坚决,绝不退步。却也造成当执政者做出让步,准备走向民主时,国家错过从上而下的、代价较低的转型模式,甚至在民主成功之后,采用极端手段来解决冲 突。这一幕在突尼斯和埃及都反复上演。当穆巴拉克宣布不再连任、自己的儿子也不参选、任期届满之后即进行全面、自由、公正的选举时,却被民众拒绝了。结果 权力被交给军方,大大延长了过渡期。随后又在穆尔西执政一年后,再次以街头革命的方式,将首位民选总统赶下台,造成全国性的对抗,终至演变成空前的血腥悲 剧。实际上,这种不妥协,已经把埃及的民主扼杀在摇篮中。历史已经一而再地证明,在血泊中诞生的只有暴力,而不是民主。

Revolutions like these were most likely to happen in demographically young countries, Song continues. Japanese media had pointed out that therefore, a revolution was unlikely to happen in a country like China, which was older on average, and with only one child per family.

The West itself was equally in trouble, writes Song, enumerating the share of respective national debt as a share of GDP. All of those shares were above the internationally accepted warning line of 60 percent.

The trouble was that democratic systems were based on the expectation that the people were perfect, and wouldn’t allow abuse. Unreasonable public expectations made politicians accept even unreasonable demands:

By using the ballot box in this Western system, people can force politicians to accept unreasonable and even perfectly unreasonable demands. Today’s Western debts come from deficit spending [今天西方国家普遍出现的债台高筑寅吃卯粮], high levels of welfare are hard to sustain and impossible to reform, the masses idly indulge in a life of pleasure and comfort, and falling competitiveness and falling economic growth have their sources here.

西方危机的深层根源就在于它实行的一人一票的民主制度。当今民主制度有一个理论假想:政府是应有 之恶,要进行限权,但对人民却又认为是道德完美、能够做到绝对正确。事实上,人民的全体和个体的人民一样,都有先天性的人性缺憾,比如好逸恶劳贪得无厌、 目光短浅急功近利等等。而任何权力包括民权没有限制都会被滥用。于是在西方这种制度模式下,民众可以通过选票迫使政治人物接受并非理性、甚至完全不合理的 诉求。今天西方国家普遍出现的债台高筑寅吃卯粮、高福利难以为继却无法改革、民众日益懒惰贪图享乐、竞争力下降经济增长乏力的根源就在于此。

When it is said that traditionally socialist countries with absolute public ownership of means of production (and economic equality) has proven a failed utopia, the failure of Western democratic societies as another big Utopia with absolute equality (one man, one vote) is now also being proven.

如果说过去传统社会主义国家生产资料的绝对公有制(即经济上均贫富)是人类已经证明失败的乌托邦,那么西方民主社会另一大乌托邦即政治权力的绝对平等(一人一票)的失败也正在被历史所验证。

Song mentions the role of Wall Street’s five largest investment banks in the 2008 U.S. elections:

While collusion between officialdom and business in China still requires secrecy, it happens in broad daylight in the West.

由于西方的民主制度法必须通过选举,而选举成本堪称天文数字,这又给了资本介入的契机。我们知道2008年华尔街五大投行全军覆灭,但高盛集团的政治献金仍然高达数亿美元(如果说中国官商勾结还需要遮遮掩掩,在西方则是光天化日)。

Apparently based on the bestseller “This Town”, Song details his statement about democracy.

This book’s grim conclusion is this: transactions between power and money has become a thorough procedure. America has become exactly the way of the Roman empire in its late stage, before its collapse: Systematic political corruption, evil action as the usual practice, and legal offense in vogue.

这本书得出的冷酷结论是:权钱交易已经彻底地程序化。美国正如罗马帝国崩溃前的末期:制度化的政治腐败,作恶成了惯例,违法成了时髦。

[...]

In the face of the crisis of Western democracy, more and more scholars are waking up. Niall Ferguson, one of the West’s most renowned and influential historians, called “one of the world’s 100 most influential people” by “Time”, wrote -  after writing “Money and Power” and “Civilizaton” – about “The Western Civilization’s four Black Boxes”. In this book he argues that questions about the decline of the West lies in the degeneration of the institutions. Representational government, free markets, the rule of law, and civil society were once western Europe’s and North America’s four pillars, but are now in decay. The root lies in the irresponsibility to which the voting people have turned, living at the costs of future generations.

面对西方民主的危机,越来越多的学者开始醒悟。当代西方声誉最高、影 响力最大的历史学者,被《时代》周刊称为“影响世界的100人”之一的尼尔·弗格森,在《金钱与权力》、《文明》后,又推出一本新作:《西方文明的4个黑 盒子》,在这本书中,他认为西方衰落的答案就在西方的建制正在退化。代议政体、自由市场、法治、公民社会,曾是西欧、北美社会的四大支柱,但在今天这些建 制已败坏变质。根源则在于作为选民的人民变得不负责任,使一代选民得以在牺牲未来数代人利益下过日子。

This is also why the “New York Times’” columnist Thomas Friedman, in his new book “[The World is] Hot, Flat, and Crowded”, goes as far as titling one chapter “If America could be China for one Day”. He gives an example: “If need be, China’s leaders can change the regulatory system, the standards, infrastructure to safeguard the country’s long-term strategic benefit. If such issues get discussed and implemented in Western countries, I’m afraid it takes years or even decades.” [...]

这也是为什么《纽约时报》专栏作家托马斯·费里德曼新书《世界又热又平又挤》有一章的标题竟然是这样的: 假如美国能做一天中国。他举例道:“如果需要的话,中国领导人可以改变规章制度、标准、基础设施,以维护国家长期战略发展的利益。这些议题若换在西方国家 讨论和执行,恐怕要花几年甚至几十年的时间。” [.....]

This is where Song Luzheng gets back to Egypt, as a painfull lesson for Egypt itself, but a fortune for China (埃及的惨痛教训,对于中国实是极为宝贵的财富).

There are the three major human civilizations: Christian civilization, Islamic civilization, and Confucian cvilization. Only the Western democratic system can keep pace with China’s political civilization. But this kind of Western system has developed to today’s dysfunctionality, increasingly unable to adapt to the challenges of globalization. Apparently, Chinese civilization cannot be refused to play an important role among the world’s civilizations!

目前人类三大主要文明:基督教文明、伊斯兰教文明和儒家文明,真正能和中国政治文明并驾齐驱的只有西方的民主制度。但西方这种制度发展到今天已弊病丛生,日益无法适应全球化的挑战。看来,中华文明将不得不再一次在世界文明中扮演极为重要角色!

We can say that the decline of Western democracy and China’s institutional civilization full of vitality are humankind’s greatest and most influential change. In the old days, China’s  huge contributions to humankind weren’t only reflected in economics, but more importantly in its institutional civilization. These days, as China is becoming strong and prosperous again, it will also, once again, carve out another height of institutional civilization for humankind.

我们可以说,西方民主的衰落与中国制度文明充满生命力的崛起将是二十一世纪人类最伟大、影响最为深远的变革。昔日中国对人类的巨大贡献并不仅仅表现在经济的富庶,更重要的是制度文明。今天的中国,在重新走向富强的同时,也将再一次为人类开拓出更高的制度文明。

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Related

» Those Southern Newspaper’s Commentators, Jan 28, 2013
» Refuting Western Rhetoric, china.org.cn, Nov 18, 2012
» JR turns to Science, Dec 17, 2011
» Make America collapse, Feb 14, 2010

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, July 2013

1. Radio Habana Cuba (RHC)

If there is an element of soft-power methodology in Cuba’s foreign radio programs – winning friends and influencing people -, it’s probably the music they play.  Some other of the station’s regular topics may come across as rather old-fashioned to listeners, especially – depending on your perception – the World of Stamps and Arnie Córo‘s DXers Unlimited programs.

Radio Habana Cuba (RHC) covered the trails of the Pastors for Peace this month, on their annual trip to revolutionary sites in the free territory in the Americas. Also in the news: lots about Edward Snowden or related events, and Swedish member of parliament Torbjörn Björlund has a short interview with the station as he visits Cuba for the first time.

RHC used to broadcast to Europe, too, partly or completely through relay stations in the USSR, but the main target areas are now the Americas and Africa. The main target area for RHC’s English-language broadcast is North America, and one of the program’s frequencies, 6000 kHz, can usually be received clearly in Europe, too.

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Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988

Picadura Valleys Cattle Breeding Project, Radio Habana Cuba QSL, 1988. The project’s prominent role in the QSL series is no concidence: the project is or was run by Ramón Castro Ruz, » the older brother of the two political leaders. Asked by an American journalist in the late 1970s » what he thought about Cuban-U.S. relations, Castro parried the questions “with a shrug and grin: ‘That’s all politics – I leave that to Fidel. All I know about are cows.’”

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2. Voice of Turkey

TRT Ankara, also known as the “Voice of Turkey”, retains a bastion of Kemalism. Every once in a while when listening, you will stumble across readings from the founder of the Republic’s diary or memories, or contemporaries’ memories about him (I have never given the topic a close listen yet). No Koran recitals in the English, French, German or Spanish programs, as far as I can tell, but both the Arab and the Chinese services carry such programs at the beginning of every broadcast, at least currently. In the Chinese case, the recitals may be meant to benefit Uighur listeners, and other Muslim minorities in China. A listeners’ letter with a number of signatories asked TRT for a Koran copy for each of them in January this year and were told that unfortunately, there are no Korans among our gifts, but you can download them from the internet. There are also Chinese ones.

============

3. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
AFS – South Africa; ARS – Saudi Arabia; CUB – Cuba; EGY – Egypt; INS – Indonesia; KRE – North Korea; MRC – Morocco; OMA – Oman; RUS – Russia; THA – Thailand; TUR – Turkey.

Languages (“L.”):
A – Arabic; C – Chinese; E – English; F – French; G – German; S – Spanish.

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kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

Time
GMT

S I O
  6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB  E July
6
 04:00 3 5 3
13760 Vo Korea  KRE E July
7
 13:00 3 5 3
15140 Radio
Oman
 OMA E July
7
 14:00 4 5 4
17660 Radio
Riyadh
 ARS F July
8
 14:53 5 5 5
12050 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY G July
8
 19:00 4 5 1
15290 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY E July
8
 19:00 3 3 1
17660 Radio
Riyadh
 ARS F July
14
 14:00 4 5 4
 5980 Channel
Africa
 AFS E July
15
 03:00 4 5 3
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
15
 04:00 3 4 3
15240 TRT 2)
Ankara
 TUR C July
16
 11:00 4 4 4
15670 Vo
Russia
 RUS E July
16
 13:00 4 5 3
12050 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY G July
16
 19:00 4 5 2
15290 Radio 1)
Cairo
 EGY E July
16
 19:00 3 4 2
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
17
 03:50 4 5 4
9525.7 RRI
Indonesia
 INS G July
20
 18:07 4 4 4
 6000 RHC
Habana
Cuba
 CUB E July
21
 01:00 3 5 3
 9770 TRT
Ankara
 TUR S July
22
 01:00 4 5 4
 9665 Vo
Russia
 RUS E July
22
 02:00 4 5 4
 9580 Radio
Médi
 MRC A/
F
July
22
 08:48 5 5 5
 9390 Radio
Thailand
 THA E July
22
 19:00 4 5 4
11750 TRT
Ankara
 TUR  A July
24
 11:00 4 5 4
13760 TRT
Ankara
 TUR  G July
24
 11:30 4 5 4

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Notes

1) The usual modulation disaster.
2) Soundtrack here, online for ten days (minimum). Download enabled.

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Related

» Previous Log, June 28, 2013

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